Are You Serious About Reaching Your Goals?

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reaching your goals

Have you set goals for yourself? If you’re like many people, you might have set a few goals back at the beginning of the year to lose weight, pay down debt, learn a new skill, or get in better shape. It seems most of us set goals, but are you really committed to reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself?

One way to answer that question is to look at your progress. Have you achieved your goals? Are you on your way? Are you even keeping track of your progress? Franklin Roosevelt once said:

“To reach a port, we must sail—Sail, not tie at anchor—Sail, not drift.”

If you’re having little success at reaching your goals, ask yourself this: are you sailing toward those goals, or staying tied at anchor? Are you sailing toward those goals, or simply drifting along, hoping they’ll come to pass? If you’re not satisfied with your progress, maybe you’re not sailing.

Reaching Your Goals Means Driving Yourself to Go Above and Beyond


Often times we fail to reach our goals because we don’t have a plan in place to achieve them, or because we’ve not carried out that plan. Sometimes we do have a plan but fail to carry it out because of fear. Sometimes our plan for reaching the goal isn’t the right plan. And sometimes we fail to reach our goals because it’s simply not a big enough priority in our lives.

How serious are you about your reaching goals? As we work toward debt freedom in our house, I’ve learned a couple of things about what it takes to actually get free of our debt.

How Big is Your Goal?


Paying off debt is a BIG goal for us. It’s a large mountain that we have to climb. We knew we needed to make the commitment to stick through it for the long haul, no matter how much time it takes, in order for us to succeed. That means that through the ups and downs, through the failures and successes, we always choose to keep going.

There have been many times throughout this last year and a half that I’ve woke up with it set in my mind that I am quitting. But when push comes to shove, I remember the importance of obtaining this goal that my family and I have, and I choose to keep striving toward our goal instead of choosing to give up. This is the difference between reaching goals and not reaching goals.

The second thing I’ve learned is that there will be bumps in the road. Roadblocks will come that will tempt you to give up on your goals.  If you’re working toward debt freedom, you’ll have unexpected bills. If you’re working toward a health goal, you’ll have those days where you eat WAY too much ice cream. At that point, when the roadblocks come, or when you’ve made a mistake that causes a setback, you have a choice: you can let the roadblock take you down, or you can get up and keep going.

When I used to run, the practices and the race days would always go the same way; I’d start out pumped up and excited about conquering my goal for the day. Then, about half way in, I’d be bored silly, my mind wandering about all the other things I could be doing that would be so much more “fun”. Three quarters of the way in I’d start to get tired and seriously consider giving up, wondering why on earth I was “torturing” myself in this manner. But when I pushed through to the finish line, it was the best feeling ever. Knowing that I had set – and achieved – my running goals gave me confidence that would help me achieve my next goal, whatever it was. Choosing to push your goals through to completion has that effect.

Any goal worth achieving will likely not be an easy one. There will be setbacks in all forms that will come to try and convince you that you can’t reach your goal. Your job is to show them they’re wrong and to show those setbacks that you can indeed reach your goal.


What goals did you set for yourself this year? How are you doing at achieving them? What successes have you seen? If you’re not making progress, what’s one thing you can do to change that?


Photo courtesy of: Alan Cleaver

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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.


  • Awesome post Laurie! My wife and I were drifting along towards our financial goals until we started writing them down and reviewing them regularly. Now we have a big spreadsheet with budgets and savings goals that we review every three months. We’ve never saved as much as we do now. It’s absolutely incredible the difference such a small change has made.

    • Laurie says:

      Thomas, that’s awesome!! So glad you’ve found success and are now moving towards your goals faster. It’s amazing what a few small changes can do!

  • Amy says:

    My goals for the year were the generic, exercise more and pay down debt. I’m doing well with the former, and chugging along at the latter. I’ve learned a lot as I’ve gone down this road, including just what it means to be committed to this goal. There have clearly been points when I thought I was doing the right things, but really was deluding myself a bit. Understanding this will help me have more success going forward, I believe.

    • Laurie says:

      So glad it’s been helpful, Amy! We’ve gone through periods like this too: it’s all part of the process. I’m quite sure you’ll succeed at achieving both of your goals – keep up the great work!

  • Our goal is to pay off our house in the next year. I think having a concrete goal really helps (X number of $’s), so it’s not a moving goal line. Also, we’re dreaming about what we can do to celebrate when we reach our goal–that’s VERY motivating!

  • This month I have a few goals, but none of them really financial. The first one: exercise more than once a week. I exercise once a week, and even though it is better than no days a week, it is still not enough. I’m shooting for three days a week this month and see how that goes.
    I also took Luke 1428’s challenge of 31 days of writing at least 500 words. I wrote 527 words yesterday so I have 30 more days to go. Too bad commenting on posts don’t count.

    • Laurie says:

      I think it’s great that you are taking your status quo goals and pushing them to the next level – that’s always paramount for growth – great job, Aldo!

  • Great post Laurie! I am working hard to achieve the goals I set for myself back in December/January, but have had some setbacks along the way. I don’t know if I’ll meet all of them, but at least by setting goals and working toward them I’m going to be further ahead than if I had set no goals at all.

    • Laurie says:

      That brings up an important point, Kayla: even throughout setbacks and roadblocks, we have to take credit for accomplishments, even if they didn’t quite end up as big as we hoped they would.

  • Liz says:

    I can totally relate to your running analogy. Seems like we are super pumped after setting up our budget at the begging of the month. Half way through we get distracted, bored and then there’s always temptation to spend : ) Financial goals (especially long-term ones) are all persistence and dedication. Thanks for the reminder, Laurie!

  • Two of the goals I’m most proud of is running a half marathon and playing ukulele, especially the second, which I thought in the beginning of the year was the biggest stretch goal. Financially it’s been tough hitting some of my goals, but a lot of that is out of my control..I can only keep pushing to make up for income lost and side hustle my ass off. Overall though, I’m proud at what I accomplished!

    • Laurie says:

      Tonya, you’ve done some amazing things this year – I’m so impressed with both the half marathon completion and the ukulele thing – those are huge goals to have completed!

  • Kassandra says:

    I’m feeling this post Laurie! I tend to following through on most goals and one way I manage it is to remove whatever I can that will impede me from reaching my objectives.
    For instance, I’m back on the health and fitness train (I hate when I get off this one) and I ensure I keep no foods that are triggers for me in the house, namely sweets.
    As for my 3x/week work-outs, I make sure I go the same days/times each week to build consistency into my schedule. It works more than it doesn’t 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Smart tip, Kassandra. I struggle with those health goals too, and I agree about removing obstacles – it helps me to simply stop having sweets in the house. 🙂

  • We already made our financial goals for the year which is nice with a few months to spare. I set a goal to run 500 miles and I was at 300 by the start of June and have only run 22 since. Summer is killer for me at work and I have to jump back on. I can still make 500 but I’m going to have to kick it in gear.

    • Laurie says:

      Lance, that is awesome that you guys have made your financial goals already!!! Great job! I have a feeling you’ll kick it on your running goal too. 🙂

  • Jason B says:

    I set a lot of goals this year. So far I’ve completed about 60% of them. One of them was to have 2000 views per month on my blog. I reached that goal in April. One of the goals that I didn’t achieve this year was to take a trip to London. I will have to reschedule for next year.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s the way to do it, Jason: be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and set your sights on the ones you didn’t for next time. You’re doing great. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I had some pretty ambitious goals this year, and I think I’ll fail at about 1/3 of them, but I’m still proud of forward progress. I guess it’s better to aim high and not make it vs not expecting much of yourself.

    • Laurie says:

      I agree, Kim. We have to, a lot of the time, just high-five ourselves for forward progress, even if that progress isn’t as good as we would have liked it to have been.

  • I find that with goals, I sometimes have to wait for the right circumstances to do something about them. For instance, I’ve really let go of working out, and I plan to get back into shape. But my goal of debt-reduction is a more important effort right now, and I find I’m not able to focus well on more than one goal at a time. As part of my debt-reduction goal, I’ve recently moved my blog to WordPress, and that has been and continues to be HUGE for me – since I have major techno-phobia and details of the transition and unfamiliar platform have induced sleep deprivation and stress. (I’m not kidding – technology is THAT scary for me.) Anyway, I believe it will all settle down into a new normal, and that I’ll be able to devote energy to a renewed physical fitness goal. Just not yet.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I’m right there with you, Prudence, on the techy thing. Anything I learn in that area I count as a goal win b/c it’s so far out of my comfort zone. And as far as doing the one goal at a time thing, I read recently that this is actually a better way to go than to set multiple goals at one time.

  • It is so important to not let a roadblock knock you off course. Things are going to happen. Just know that if you fall off course, you can just get back on again. I like to think of a child learning to walk or learning to ride a bike. When they fall, do they just give up? No! They try again until they can walk/ride like it is second nature.

  • Love this Laurie! I think we all set goals but never really get serious about making them a reality and then we wonder why we haven’t accomplished anything. Any goal that is really worthwhile takes time, energy and focus to accomplish.

  • Everyone talks about starting as being the hardest part and to an extent it is. But finishing might be even harder. I know I personally have a lot of half finished projects lying around.

  • Great words, Laurie. I think sometimes I’ve found myself stagnate in reaching my goals when I get discouraged or even lose a bit of interest. I think it’s tough to maintain that 24/7/365 focus that is sometimes required to achieve big goals.

  • I tend not to set myself annual goals; they’re generally set over either a much longer or a much shorter time span.

    My biggest goal is managing to save enough to quit my job and start my own business. On this front I’m a little behind where I hoped to be (hopefully next year!). Equally, I managed to swap to a far more enjoyable job which eased the pressure quite a bit.

    No spectacular win here but in general I’m pretty happy with my progress so far in 2014.

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